Good morning, today is Wednesday, September 19, 2012. Avast, it's also Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Tom Morello stirs the Occupy movement into action with a performance of "This Land is Your Land" in Foley Square ahead of Occupy Wall Street's one year anniversary on September 17, 2012.
Michigan voters will be asked in November to decide the future of a controversial state law that allows the governor to appoint an unelected emergency manager or corporation to take over financially distressed towns and cities and effectively fire elected officials. The law, which is now on hold, empowers unelected managers or corporations to take over cities and effectively fire elected officials. In addition, another initiative on the Michigan ballot in November aims to enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state constitution to stave off future attacks on unions. DemocracyNow!'s Amy Goodman discusses this with Paul Abowd, an investigative reporter at the Center for Public Integrity.
Random arrests in NYC on Monday, September 17, 2012.
In LeaguePress reporter Anaheim James brutalized and arrested by NYPD on #S17.
Anonymous had a message for Occupy Wall Street's 1 year anniversary: "The bankers are the problem."
Along Broadway on at least two instances NYPD officers lunged into the crowd grabbing and arresting protesters, some seemingly targeted, others just caught in the shuffle.
Here a few, there a few...
The incident with NYC council member Jumaane Williams starts at 2 minutes and 40 seconds into the video. This was filmed live at 11pm EST on September 17, 2012 during Occupy Wall Street's 1 year anniversary at Liberty Park. Courtesy of videographer Luke Rudkowski.
Jumaane D. Williams is a Democratic politician who is a member of the New York City Council, representing the 45th Council District which includes parts of Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, and Canarsie in Brooklyn.
Williams, who has been an outspoken ally of the Occupy movement since its early days last year, was observing a rally in Zuccotti Park and standing on a bench when he was shoved three times by the cop, who used her baton.
By Monday evening, NYPD officers had arrested 185 Occupy protesters.
David Corn, who broke the story about the Romney fundraiser which we posted here -- Mitt Romney's Uncensored Disdain for Poor People and Minorities -- joined Rachel Maddow with the latest updates on the story and revealed who the host was at the event where Romney made his remarks.
Here's more from his latest article at Mother Jones -- Romney "47 Percent" Fundraiser Host: Hedge Fund Manager Who Likes Sex Parties:
When Mitt Romney at a private fundraiser dismissed all Barack Obama voters as moochers and victims—showing disdain for nearly half of the American electorate—he was speaking at the home of controversial private equity manager Marc Leder in Boca Raton on May 17, 2012. This is evident from references made by Romney within the full video recording of the event that has been reviewed by Mother Jones.
When Mother Jones first disclosed secret video of Romney's remarks, we were obliged to not reveal details regarding the time and place of the event. That restriction has been lifted, as the story has garnered attention throughout the media. [...]
Romney made those remarks before donors who had paid $50,000 a plate to attend the dinner at Leder's swanky house.
Leder has long been a fan of Romney. In January, the New York Times reported:
Years ago, a visit to Mr. Romney's investment firm inspired Mr. Leder to get into private equity in the first place. Mr. Romney was an early investor in some of the deals done by Mr. Leder's investment company, Sun Capital, which today oversees about $8 billion in equity.
And as Rachel also noted, the Obama campaign responded to Mitt Romney's remarks and here is their statement:
CHICAGO – “It's shocking that a candidate for President of the United States would go behind closed doors and declare to a group of wealthy donors that half the American people view themselves as ‘victims,’ entitled to handouts, and are unwilling to take ‘personal responsibility’ for their lives. It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you’ve disdainfully written off half the nation.” – Jim Messina, Obama for America Campaign Manager
Joe Ricketts, a billionaire whose family owns the Chicago Cubs, plans to shell out $12 million to support Republican candidates in the next week, with $10 million of that going to ads supporting presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The ads will run nationally, with more targeted spots appearing in the battleground states of Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, and Virginia. The move by the 71-year-old Ricketts puts him in the company of other election-year conservative backers like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson, all of whom have been willing to pour millions into their pet causes. Ricketts has also started his own super PAC, the Ending Spending Action Fund.
By Cora Currier, ProPublica
For many years, Bush administration officials have said that the CIA waterboarded only three terror suspects. Despite nearly endless revelations and investigations about the U.S.'s treatment of detainees, there has never been evidence contradicting those claims. But that changed earlier this month.
Human Rights Watch recently released a report detailing the accounts of 14 Libyan men who claim they were detained and, in some cases, subject to harsh interrogations by the U.S. before being transferred back to Libyan prisons, where they also faced abuse.
One man, Mohammed Al-Shoreoiya, provided a detailed account of being waterboarded "many times" while in U.S. custody in an Afghan prison between 2003 and 2004. Another man described a similar form of water torture, conducted without a board.
None of the men's accounts could be confirmed, but as the New York Times noted, the detainees did not seek out Human Rights Watch, and their descriptions of their treatment, including waterboarding, are consistent with CIA procedural documents that have been made public.
The CIA first confirmed waterboarding in February 2008, when then-CIA director Michael Hayden told a Senate committee that "only three detainees" had been waterboarded — Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zabaydah, and Abd Al Rahim al-Nashiri. No one, he said, had been subjected to the process since 2003. That claim has been repeated by former President George W. Bush and top officials from his administration. Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has also noted that the military did not waterboard.
A spokesman for the CIA told ProPublica that "the Agency has been on the record that there are three substantiated cases in which detainees were subjected to the waterboarding technique under the program."
Here are top Bush administration officials stating, again and again, only three detainees were waterboarded [emphasis added]:
George W. Bush
Of the thousands of terrorists we captured in the years after 9/11, about a hundred were placed into the CIA program. About a third of those were questioned using enhanced techniques. Three were waterboarded.
– November 2010, in his memoir, Decision Points.
Dick Cheney, former vice president
It is a fact that only detainees of the highest intelligence value were ever subjected to enhanced interrogation. You've heard endlessly about waterboarding. It happened to three terrorists.
-- May 21, 2009: Dick Cheney, in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute.
Donald Rumsfeld, former defense secretary
[Michael Hayden] looked at all the evidence and concluded that a major fraction of the intelligence in our country on al Qaeda came from individuals, the three, only three people who were waterboarded... no one was waterboarded at Guantanamo by the U.S. military. In fact, no one was waterboarded at Guantanamo, period. Three people were waterboarded by the CIA, away from Guantanamo and then later brought to Guantanamo.
-- May 3, 2011, in an interview with Fox News.
Michael Hayden, former CIA director
Let me make it very clear and to state so officially in front of this committee that waterboarding has been used on only three detainees. It was used on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, it was used on Abu Zubaydah, and it was used on Nashiri. The CIA has not used waterboarding for almost five years. We used it against these three high-value detainees because of the circumstances of the time.
–Feb. 5, 2008, in testimony to a Senate committee.
John Yoo, former Justice Department official
Waterboarding we think is torture, but it happened to three people. The scale of magnitude is different....We've done it three times."
--June 1, 2008, in an interview with Esquire Magazine.
Yoo also said three people had been waterboarded in a June 2008 congressional hearing.
Karl Rove, senior adviser to Bush
[Coercive techniques] were used against some thirty hard-core terrorist detainees who had successfully resisted other forms of interrogation. Only three were waterboarded.
–March 2010, in his memoir, Courage and Consequences.
Michael Mukasey, former attorney general
The fact is that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding — he was one of three people who were waterboarded — did disclose the name — the nickname actually, which was the name that this courier actually used — in the course of the questioning that took place after enhanced interrogation techniques.
--May 17, 2011, in remarks at the American Enterprise Institute.
Jose Rodriguez Jr., former director of the National Clandestine Service at the CIA
In fact, only three detainees: Mohammed, Zubaydah and one other were ever waterboarded, the last one more than nine years ago.
-- May 10, 2012: Jose Rodriguez Jr., in an op-ed on CNN.com
Bill Harlow, who co-authored Rodriguez' book on interrogations, said that Rodriguez stands by his statement. "These procedures were not done without extensive documentation and authorization, as part of an officially approved program, and all the documentation there shows three individuals," Harlow said.
The other officials we've cited did not respond to requests for comment.
President Obama came into office proclaiming a ban on torture, stating that waterboarding was unequivocally a form of torture, and making the infamous "torture memos" public. But the administration has said no one would be prosecuted for waterboarding or other interrogation methods previously sanctioned by the government, and announced last month it would close the last two investigations into CIA abuse.
A Justice Department spokesman would not comment on whether the government ever investigated the Libyan cases. Laura Pitter, the author of the Human Rights Watch report, said that none of the men she interviewed said they had been contacted by U.S. investigators about their detention.
The CIA spokesman said that he could not comment on specific allegations, but that "the Department of Justice has exhaustively reviewed the treatment of more than 100 detainees in the post-9/11 period — including allegations involving unauthorized interrogation techniques — and it declined prosecution in every case."
Mitt Romney’s leaked comments, recorded by a hidden camera at a closed-door fundraiser, that 47 percent of Americans “believe that they are victims” and prefer President Obama because his politics are “attractive to people who are not paying taxes” quickly lit up the blogosphere Monday (Our own Karoli posted the leaked video here), so quickly, in fact, that Romney held an impromptu press conference at 10:30 p.m. to address them. In his brief remarks, he doesn’t disavow the argument, instead saying it was “not elegantly stated” and “spoken off the cuff.” He also said that comments were in line with his campaign strategy to “focus on the people in the middle.” Apparently he's referring to the people in the middle of the top one percent along with him, because his remarks in that leaked video were a giant "F-U" to the rest of Americans. But in case any of Romney's internet team is reading, I pay my taxes every year. However, we still don't know if Mitt Romney pays his.
And as it turns out, the source of the leaked Romney video is the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter. James Carter IV is credited as a research assistant on the Mother Jones piece that broke the story. Carter spends time “almost every day” searching for video clips of Republicans.
Activists with Code Pink attempted to make a statement outside of a Bank of America in NYC on Monday, but it seems that waving a pink bra at a bank is a dangerous thing to do. Co-Director Rae Abileah was arrested during a "bra toss" outside of the Bank of America on the corner of Washington Place and W. 14th Street. The police arrested her for "blocking a sidewalk."